15 May 2009

Somalia: Pro-Government Islamists Battle Al Shabaab in Central Region

Fighting erupted again in a town in central Somalia on Friday between a pro-government Islamic Courts Union (ICU) militia and Al Shabaab hardliners, Radio Garowe reports.

The fighting started after Al Shabaab fighters attacked Mahas town in Hiran region early in the morning. The fighting was continuing by midday but there were no casualty reports available.

It is the second time ICU and Al Shabaab are fighting in Hiran region this week. On Wednesday, at least two people were killed and four others were wounded after ICU fighters ambushed Al Shabaab armed trucks en route to Mahas town.

Al Shabaab fighters were forced to retreat and reportedly regrouped to launch Friday's armed offensive on Mahas.

The Islamist-led insurgency in the Somali capital Mogadishu has intensified since last week, when Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam rebels launched bloody attacks on government forces and pro-government ICU fighters.

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